Back in the day – circa the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s – audience worksite emails were the easiest to obtain. These included hospitals and medical schools. These were obtained by a process called “domain assembly.” This type of “domain assembly” was popular about a decade ago, because there simply weren’t many primary sources in which physicians voluntarily provided their contact information in the context of a professional relationship or transaction. Contrary to what some healthcare marketers believe, though, office and domain-assembled email lists don't work as well as other emails. Here's a breakdown of why.
Domain Assembly: Not So Effective in the Modern Digital Era
It was simple enough to accomplish. Understand the domain convention – for example, firstname.lastname@example.org - and you could easily assemble an email handle for any member of a healthcare organization.
Fast-forward to today, though, and this approach isn’t quite so effective. Why? The odds are slim that these site-based email addresses are used as a physician’s primary email account. In fact, some hospitals assign emails to providers that physicians never use at all.
The other issue with this approach is that SPAM has become an unfortunate and prevalent problem within the past 10 years, leading hospitals and provider organizations to implement stringent SPAM filters and firewalls. That said, email is an essential component of digital communications, serving as a ticket to the many online services used by people every day. Most physicians have a primary, active email account; it’s just not obvious and easy to find and mine as those site-based emails.
Think You’ll Get Past the Gatekeeper? Think Again
You could verify office-based emails by phone with a physician’s office manager. However, she’s tasked with screening all communications and filtering through only the most relevant and important to providers. Odds are that she takes that role quite seriously.
The consequence of sending an email that will be screened by a receptionist or office manager, is confronting a gatekeeper who’s task it is to protect her boss. It’s like a lion protecting her cubs — no one gets near, and even members of the pride don’t dare to get too close without fair warning and a valid reason.
If you think an office manager would willingly hand out a physician’s active and usable email addresses, you may want to consider paying your own doctor a visit. Too many pharma companies take this approach, thinking that the relationships they’ve built and nurtured will earn them an inside track to a provider’s active email address. In reality, though, it's not happening.
Sharpen Your Target with Performance Tracking
Your email campaign ROI relies heavily on whether you actually reach your audience. If you rely on hospital or domain assembled worksite-based email lists to fuel your email campaigns, that’s precisely what you could be doing: setting yourself up for failure.
Not all office-based email addresses are bad, though. You might reach a few physicians or targets with this approach, but it will ultimately be more cost effective to secure an authenticated email address for your target.
In the end, it comes back to the source and performance tracking of every email address in your database. Email authentication aids deliverability, particularly when it’s handled on a real-time basis to ensure emails are deployed within your campaigns. The definitive key indicator of a viable email address is whether you receive responses.
If You Want a Better Email Campaign ROI, Sharpen Your Target
To insure you actually reach your desired target, an email database needs to be constructed by uncovering both personal and professional email addresses for physicians and mid-level providers. A rigorous testing and authentication process should be conducted to make sure an address is actually connected to the intended practitioner. The best systems can take authenticated lists and score them on performance.
After insuring that you’re working with a valid set of addresses, you can then begin segmenting lists based on highly specific targeting options like prescriber behavior and CPT codes.
This results in impressive email campaign ROI, because your marketing dollars are allocated where they count — bypassing gatekeepers, honing in on target prospects with verified emails, and analyzing relative performance data to eliminate wasted marketing spend.
Precious marketing dollars are at stake. You can run extraordinarily effective email campaigns and dramatically increase your email campaign ROI when you leave the office-based email lists behind and embrace sophisticated targeting and performance metrics.